WF Donuts LLC is a franchisee group that operates 5 Baskin-Robbins, Dunkin’ Donuts, and Arby’s restaurants in Texas. Like most consumer services businesses, its store managers constantly strive to hire and train the best employees, keep inventory stocked, strike the right balance between labor costs and sales revenue, and build customer loyalty. In order to accomplish all of this, they need to connect with their frontline teams on a daily basis.
Ike Woodard, general manager at one of the group’s locations, shared, “It used to be very difficult to get information out, schedule team meetings, or find shift covers, because we’d have to track down everyone’s phone numbers and call people individually. I wanted to more easily stay in touch with my team about each day’s game plan, schedule, and goals.”
Ike first adopted the Crew’s team communication solution when he was assistant manager at an Arby’s location. It worked so well that after being promoted and tasked with opening a brand new combined Baskin-Robbins and Dunkin’ store, he decided to roll it out to his new staff. Ike told all new hires that they’d be using Crew’s mobile app for group messaging, attaining 100% adoption off the bat. This made it easy to share details about training resources, meetings, and schedules so people felt comfortable from the get go and had somewhere to ask questions.
With Crew, everybody now gets their weekly schedule right on their phone, even if they’re not working the day it’s posted, and Ike can see who has read which messages. If he notices that someone missed out on an Announcement or didn’t know their schedule, he can send them quick and easy reminders to hop into Crew so they stay informed. Employees are empowered to use Crew’s “get shift coverage” and “request time off” features to manage their own schedules and availability, which alleviates the administrative burden on managers.
“Crew is awesome – I would recommend it to anyone. It lets me work smarter, not harder, and that’s such a relief. I’m still keeping my team in the loop, but have freed up more time to invest in making customers happy. Crew puts new employees at ease and helps them get a feel for the job quickly.”
Dunkin’ holds its franchisees to rigorous speed-of-service expectations. For example, by the time a customer has paid for their coffee, it should be in their hands. Crew helps keep these service metrics top of mind, with Ike offering encouragement when the team is achieving their time-frame objectives or, alternatively, falling short. He uses the app to share gentle reminders with certain employees if he ever notices that anything was missed during a previous shift.
Crew also helps the team stay on top of executing limited time offers and other monthly changes from corporate. When Ike receives new materials or training videos about upcoming ice cream flavors, coffee drinks, or donut styles, he shares that information to his staff immediately so they’re prepared. “Because of the hours we work, it’s difficult to hold team meetings, so it’s great to be able to talk to everybody all at one time via Crew,” noted Woodard. “Especially with our overnight bakers, Crew helps me make one-on-one connections and show that I care about the work they’re doing.”
Everyone in the store – from Ike, to his shift managers and the rest of the team – uses Crew Gold Stars to highlight excellent work and give each other kudos. Woodard said, “I absolutely love the Gold Stars because after a great day of sales or a really hectic day, we can praise team members that stepped up and did something out of the ordinary. This kind of appreciation helps boost people’s morale and raise employee satisfaction.”
In addition, Ike posts photos to Crew with messages that specify task instructions. He’ll snap a picture of a good cleaning job or a service milestone displayed on the store’s drive-thru monitor. This visual communication sets clear expectations, motivating the team to work faster and better, which improves overall performance at the restaurant. When team members see something that needs to be fixed or a task done well, they often post a photo or video themselves to show what is going right.
Thanks to Crew, new store employees are ramped up at least 70% faster, and Ike saves around six hours every week in his managerial responsibilities. Even when he’s not out on the floor, he’s able to keep everything in order and demonstrate to his team that he’s paying attention to their hard work. He even says Crew helps him be a better boss. Since he puts more thought into how he gives feedback as he’s typing it into the app, Ike’s comments come across in a way that’s less harsh than they might seem otherwise.
Finally, Crew helps the store’s team members form connections and show they care by celebrating birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Secret Santas, or Valentines together. “Our employees are happy and that reflects onto their customers and colleagues,” Woodard concluded. “We all use Crew to joke and keep each other in a good mood, which impacts the overall customer experience.”